Michigan Roadside Attractions: Northern Michigan University Wildcat Statue, Marquette

Michigan Roadside Attractions: Northern Michigan University Wildcat Statue, Marquette

NMU Northern Michigan University Wildcat Sculpture Marquette MI

Michigan Roadside Attractions on Travel the Mitten highlights our attempts to explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to the unusual.

Northern Michigan University in Marquette is home to more than 7,000 students that are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of subjects. This beautiful campus is a great spot for walking around while visiting the area. The NMU athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division II level, with the exception of men’s ice hockey (D-I), and their mascot is the wildcat. We had the chance to visit the Northern Michigan University Wildcat statue when we were in town a few weeks ago. This great addition to the campus is a bronze statue that is 12 feet long and five feet high and one of the best spots for photo ops!

Northern Michigan University Wildcat Statue NMu Marquette

A nearby Michigan historical marker tells us a bit more about Northern Michigan University: ” Established by the legislature in 1899 as a normal school to provide teachers for the Upper Peninsula, Northern opened with thirty-two students, six faculty members, and Dwight B. Waldo as principal. A four-year collegiate program was introduced in 1918, and the first bachelor of arts degree was conferred two years later. In the 1950s Northern became a multi-purpose institution placing emphasis on instruction, service, and research. In 1960 it established its own graduate program leading to the master of arts degree. Serving an ever-increasing student body, Northern in 1963 achieved university status through an act of the legislature.” That marker is located on Lee Dr. by the Northern Center building, and just a short walk from there you’ll find the wildcat statue in front of Jamrich Hall.

Northern Michigan University Wildcat NMU Campus Statue Marquette

The bronze statue was sculpted by Brian Hanlon, whose amazing work can be found all over the country (including another U.P. one that we’ll be sharing soon). It was made possible by a gift from the estate of alumnus and former chairman of the NMU Board of Trustees Gil Ziegler. The statue stands in a beautiful plaza and rests on a rock base. It was installed on campus in the fall of 2018.

Northern Michigan University Wildcat NMU Sculpture Marquette

Be sure to check out the Northern Michigan University wildcat statue the next time you’re in Marquette and near campus to check out the Superior Dome, the DeVos Art Museum, the other outdoor public art installations, or an NMU Wildcats sporting event!